WOMADelaide will once again grace Botanic Park this weekend, and while great fanfare is rightly expressed in favour of the always impressive world music line up and food offering, the festival also hosts WoMade – a market highlighting a bevvy of talented South Australian artisans.
It’s an invaluable experience that offers small producers exposure and the opportunity to reach a broader audience, says Michelle Kennedy, founder of Bluebell Design.
“I do a lot of local markets, so I think the more I put myself out there, the more my business responds to that, and the opportunity to do something like WoMade is next level,” she says.
“I really think that the people there will be on the same page as me, with an appreciation for things that have been created by Mother Nature. I really love it when people can stand there and really be in awe of something that is so incredible.”
Many of Bluebell Design’s pieces make use of opal – a stone that Kennedy says is rightfully regaining prominence.
“I think people’s appreciation for opal is slowly but surely getting there,” she says.
“Every stone that I purchase, I make sure it’s ethically sourced; every opal I’ve got is Australian. I have local cutters that actually cut them for me.
“Everyone loves a good story and the fact that 99 per cent of my opals I can give them a story for, it’s very cool. A lot of people do love that, they love hearing where the opals have come from, the work that’s gone into it, whether I’ve handpicked it, whether I found it, whether someone else found it, how it was cut, and why.”
Making their second WoMade appearance this year WoMade, Wrappa, makers of reusable food wraps, hope to experience the same response from the WOMADelaide crowd as last year.
“It was just huge; we had a massive four days there, it was fantastic,” founder Cheryl Sanders says.
“It just opened us up to a whole new group of people. We were really surprised at the diversity and amount of people that went to WoMade.”
Sanders started Wrappa after seeing similar businesses outside of South Australia, and so decided to create a local alternative to single-use plastic food wraps, and, at their last appearance at WoMade, introduced the public to a plant-based vegan alternative to their beeswax product.
“They were relatively new within our business, so they were really well received, which was really fantastic for us to see,” she says.
“The vegan population is a massive group of people, and for them to not be able to use the product that we’re making, then there’s a problem.”
In setting up her business in 2016, Sanders imagined having to door knock in order to garner attention, but in two years she’s moved from being a sole operator (with her husband helping on weekends) to employing nine people and having a presence in 50 stores around Australia.
This weekend, however, she will join other iconic South Australian producers, like Hey Reflect’o, Naomi Murrell and Julie White, in meeting and greeting with the revellers of WOMADelaide 2018.
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